Ideas for community group archive activities
A community group should not have to solely archive and store historical material. There are many enjoyable things to do with your group – the key word is “community”. It should be an exciting experience to meet with other people in your local area, to find new and interesting activities to enrich your lives together, and to create a strong community atmosphere.
There are a range of creative projects that you can take part in, such as creating an online community archive– this allows you to share ideas and best practises to help you get the most from your collections in the future. This may also create links with other community groups.
One of the activities could be to create your community’s very own ‘memory box’. While this may include many historical archives, you could try and relate them to your own lives:
- What did my favorite park originally look like?
- How was the High Street built?
- What did people do for fun in the past?
Another activity may be to research your family tree, street, village or town. This is a very popular interest as memories can only go back so far. This can be done by asking family and relatives, as well as looking into archives – such as parish registers, maps, directories, census returns and other local records. There is much information out there to help your search.
With all the information you have gathered, it may be an idea to hold a demonstration of your archive for the public. This can increase awareness and participation of your group. Or you could host a workshop – this could get the public to actively involve themselves with your archive, and receive additional support. It may be a key way to get others to join your group, and to add to your archive.
Why would you want to be involved?
Many people wish to promote community identity and pride, while others are interested in the historical background of their home. A wide number of organisations have been set up to work on community archives. These include voluntary groups, societies, associations, trusts, and charities. Living Links hopes to support these groups, and help create new ones.
By being involved in community groups, it gives you the chance to:
- Enhance self-confidence and self-esteem by sharing personal histories
- Learn something new – such as how to use an archive
- Develop skills – such as ICT
- Gain advice and support of professional organisations in managing community archives
- Explore community identity
- Preserve the ‘unofficial history’ that may otherwise be lost
Hampshire Record Office
Sussex Street, Winchester, Hampshire SO23 8TH
tel 01962 846154